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JBLM spouse starts Memorial Day walk in Yelm

Bringing remembrance to her community

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Beyond having a day off of work or planning a large barbeque, there is a more significant meaning behind Memorial Day. It is a day when we honor the memory of the service men and women who have lost their lives protecting this country.

Amanda Huston's husband, Master Sgt. Paul Huston, has served in the Army for more than 20 years and is currently on his fourth deployment overseas. With war comes casualties and, unfortunately, the Hustons have lost their fair share of friends.

"Our family had been great friends with Sgt. First Class Clifford Beattie and his family for 14 years," said Huston. "He used to frequently come to our home for dinners."  

Beattie was killed in action on May 22, 2011.

"I decided that we must do something to remember him, to remember all of them," she said.  

That is when Huston took action. Wear Blue: Run to Remember is an organization that meets every Saturday in DuPont as a support network and living memorial - and its participants aim to bridge the gap between the military and the community.

On Memorial Day, Wear Blue: Run to Remember teamed up with Run for the Fallen in an effort to pledge a mile for every life lost to the Global War on Terror. The Joint Base Lewis-McChord chapter hosted the event in DuPont.

However, Huston decided to create another event closer to her home in Yelm. After rallying family and close friends through a Facebook page she created, she had 190 miles pledged from more than 40 people for the walk.

"Yelm is such a big military community with lots of support," she said. "I would like to start doing this event every year."

As an Army wife and a mother of four, Huston remains quite busy, but she was completely dedicated when it came to organizing the walk/run in Yelm. Before the event began on Monday morning, she read the names of not only her family's friends who had fallen, but also the names of the loved ones of other people attending the event. More than once, she had to pause as she became emotional while reading the list of names.

"I wanted to do (the event) because I felt I needed to do more than say ‘I'm sorry,'" she said. "I wanted people to remember that the Soldiers who have fallen still mean something to everyone that knew them."

Huston lined the start of the Yelm-Tenino Trail with American flags as well as the names of those who had fallen. Participants pledged anywhere from one to 14 miles each. As the walk/run began, there was a sense of silence as participants began walking in memory of those who have been lost, but will definitely never be forgotten.

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